Oral pathology is a subset of dentistry that works to identify and treat diseases affecting the oral cavity and maxillofacial regions. This is an extensive field, given that there are many different types of diseases and treatment options. At Precision Dental Specialties, we have the expertise and experience of a certified oral pathologist as well as an oral surgeon to provide the highest level of treatment available. We will provide diagnostic testing and screening to develop the ideal treatment plan for your specific condition.
Types of Oral Pathology
Oral pathology deals with many different aspects of your oral health. There are numerous developmental issues, injuries, diseases, and infections that would be covered by oral pathology. For instance, developmental problems may come in the form of jaw misalignment, impacted teeth, and incorrect tooth sizes or spacing.
Common diseases that we see include coated tongue disease, gum disease (periodontitis), cavities, candidiasis, ulcerations, herpes, leukoplakia, and erythroplakia. You may also experience oral cancer, which is a collective term for a variety of cancers affecting the oral cavity. This can include structures inside the mouth as well as surrounding areas on the face and in the neck and throat.
Common Diagnostic Tests
Our doctors will begin with a basic visual check of the concerning area, though this has probably already been performed by a dentist as well. They will examine your teeth, gums, facial structure, and neck to determine if there are any abnormalities. They will look for discoloration, swelling, bleeding, lacerations, tissues or structures that appear sunken in, and any other odd appearances.
From there, they may do a variety of diagnostic imaging or lab tests. For example, common diagnostic imaging procedures include x-rays or similar digital imaging, MRI scan, CT scans, and PET scans. Other lab tests may involve biopsies or cytology of cells and tissue, stain tests, and endoscopy.
Biopsy and cytology are very similar to one another. Both involve the observation of tissue under a microscope. The difference is that biopsy uses cells collected from within the tissue while cytology uses surface level cells. There are different methods used to collect these samples. Staining can show differences between healthy and abnormal tissue. Endoscopy is the use of a small camera attached to a tube to look inside the tissue.
With some oral health problems, simply having trained specialists to examine the condition is sufficient. However, with more serious conditions, our team of specialists will work with you for diagnosis and treatment.
Oral Health Treatment
There are three main components to oral health maintenance: prevention, self-care, and professional treatment. Of course, everyone is susceptible to different diseases based on a variety of risk factors, such as genetics. However, we would also recommend specific lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or substance use, and getting better nutrition. We also recommend following the American Dental Association Guidelines for good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing daily.
For self-care, we can give you suggestions for over-the-counter medications to help with symptoms you may be having, such as anti-inflammatories. Professional treatment options are more varied. Some of these include professional deep cleanings, medication, surgery, or other types of complex dental work, and the use of oral appliances. For more information about oral pathology, call Precision Dental Specialties at 435-522-5629 now.